WhatsApp sets up fact-checking service for upcoming Indian elections

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

It's widely accepted now that misinformation is currently plaguing due process in global politics, clouding the judgement of voters and playing into the hands of unscrupulous characters.

And technology has unfortunately been at the heart of that - with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in particular heavily criticsed for his platform's role in allowing for falsehoods to spread and deep divisions to be created.

Now WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, is hoping to help push back against this negative trend ahead of the general election in India, which takes place this month. The poll has been called India's "biggest election in history".

There is now a 'Checkpoint Tipline' citizens can contact - +91 9643 000 888 - where, if they have heard an allegation, it may be sent for verification. WhatsApp has partnered with Proto, an Indian startup started by not-for profit knowledge dissemination body The Knowledge Foundation, to create the fact-checking platform.

It is possible to submit requests to the tipline in four regional languages, English, as well as in the form of photos or video. “The challenge of viral misinformation requires more collaborative efforts and cannot be solved by any one organisation alone," WhatsApp told Reuters.